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Motor Fuel Taxation, Energy Conservation, and Economic Development

A Regional Approach

Richard W. England

April 2006, English

Combustion of motor fuels has a variety of environmental impacts on local, regional and global scales. Taxing motor fuels more heavily would mitigate those environmental impacts. However, many governments are reluctant to increase motor fuel taxes because they fear that the tax incidence will be regressive and that economic development will be impeded. Using data for the New England region of the United States, this paper argues that an oil-importing region can conserve energy, avoid regressive impacts and encourage economic development by taxing motor fuels more heavily and rebating the incremental revenues to owners of motor vehicles.


Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Management, Tax Reform, Taxation